Cleft palate and cleft lip is a common condition affecting about one out of every eight hundred people. Movie stars have had it. Famous historical figures have had it. Maybe you have had it or your child has it now. Fortunately, in most cases cleft palate and cleft lip conditions can be resolved through oral surgery. In fact, surgeons have been correcting this condition for longer than you are probably aware – even Doc Holliday received cleft palate surgery when he was a baby.
Doc Holliday: the Wild West gunslinger dentist who had cleft palate
Doc Holliday was a famous gambling, gun-slinging dentist from the American frontier days. He was born in Georgia with cleft palate and a partially cleft lip. However, his surgeon uncle corrected the condition when Holiday was only two months old. After surgery, he did not have any mechanical speech problems, although his mother did provide a form of speech therapy to ensure he grew up without any speaking problems. Actually, the scar from his cleft surgery is visible in the one surviving picture of the gun-slinging doctor, which was taken when he graduated from dental school. Since Doc Holliday was himself a dentist, he is a great success story for oral surgeons and cleft palate patients alike.
Joaquin Phoenix: the Hollywood actor with a minor form of cleft lip
Joaquin Phoenix is a famous person from modern times who suffers from the mildest form of cleft lip. Joaquin however does not agree he was born with cleft since he was in fact born with what is referred to as micro cleft, which did not need to be corrected through surgery. The effect of the condition presents itself as nothing more than a line on his upper lip.
King Tut: the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh with cleft palate
King Tutankhamun, who ruled ancient Egypt as Pharaoh from 1341 BC to 1323 BC, is believed to have suffered from a form of cleft palate. King Tut became the most famous Egyptian Pharaoh ever, after the discovery of his undisturbed tomb in 1922. Later, through the use of high-tech imaging equipment, it was discovered that the young Pharaoh from the Eighteenth Dynasty probably had a slightly cleft palate. Further details about how this condition may have affected his life, however, can only be speculated.
If your child has cleft lip or cleft palate see an oral surgeon now
Every manifestation of cleft palate and cleft lip is unique, but fortunately an oral surgeon has many different procedures available for correcting the different forms of the condition. While some procedures may require several surgeries, others could be corrected quickly with one surgery.